Many thanks to The Old Frees' Association for releasing funds to sponsor the OFA chess team despite us having busted this year's budget for chess activities. But we have just had a whale of a time competing in the Penang Chess League 2016 at the Red Rock Hotel in George Town.
The team was very basic - comprising just Chuah Heng Meng, Chan Kim Chai, Terry Ong and myself - and we were not expected to make waves in the event. After all, there were a lot of high profile teams in the tournament and they were all competing for the top prizes. As for ourselves, we only wanted to finish as high as possible in the table standings. Such is our playing ambition nowadays. And except for our match-up in the first round and possibly the last round too, our opponents were rather normal and of average strength.
I wouldn't want to say much about our opponents save for two mentions. One, my beating Tan Khai Boon in the first round and then discovering later that he was a former national champion, which I had entirely forgotten, and two, Heng Meng's crushing defeat of long-time friend and foe Eric Cheah in the final round. I would think these were the two most satisfying games of all. Heng Meng was practically bubbling with joy after the game although he did say that he had beaten Eric before. As for me, this was my first and only encounter with Khai Boon but like Terry said in a whatsapp group message later, "Khai Boon has learned to fear Seng Sun's Benko." Unfortunately, I cannot take too much credit for this game, seeing that my opponent did come late and left himself with far too little time to settle down properly.
First round. Despite my early victory against Khai Boon, my team members lost. Thus, we lost the match.
Eighth and final round. In spite of my loss, my team members carved out a wonderful collective victory to enable us to finish in a remarkable, unexpected, seventh position
It was so sweet to be able to appear on the stage and be acknowledged for our valiant efforts.